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Gambel's/Scrub Oak FYI

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
The short of it is, it is good stuff to smoke with.

I burn straight wood in my smoker for a source of both heat and smoke, so I go through a good amount of wood. Where I live, we can get a lot of Gambel's Oak:


It's commonly referred to as scrub oak, though apparently other species of oak also get that name. Often it'll look like small shrubs or small trees with 1"-2" diameter trunks, but it can get big. I've seen trees that are 40' tall, but the rule for cutting wood in most national forests is dead and down and whatever else the ranger says. Besides, a 2' diameter oak log would be really fun to hump out of the woods.

I was unable to find any good info on whether or not it was good for smoking with, so I picked up a few small pieces when helping a friend cut firewood a few weeks ago. I first tried a few smoked green chile cheese burgers because I didn't want to waste a lot of time or money on something untested. The smoke flavor was deep and rich and the burgers were phenomenal. Another nice thing is that it burns like the oak that you can buy for serious $$ if somebody else cuts it for you. My temperature control consisted of just paying attention to the number and size of sticks that I'd throw in. The flames were generally fairly small, but very hot and long lasting.

So, for those of you who live in areas where this stuff grows, you have a supply of oak that requires money for fuel for getting there and your chainsaw, and depending on the area, $20 for a wood cutting permit and some good'ole fashioned hard work. I now have 1/2 of a cord of the stuff, all split and stacked. People were passing it up because they wanted the huge ponderosa and fir logs and didn't want to mess with 4"-6" stuff.
post #2 of 2
I was wondering if you can give me some advice on where to go look for Gambel oak and how to get a permit
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